The Dores have already clinched third place in the SEC standings and therefore a first-found bye in the SEC tournament. Their strong performance during the conference season has made the Dores a virtual lock for the NCAA tournament, with an RPI of 20 according to Jerry Palm.
On the other hand, after losing starting point guard Whitney Boddie to academic ineligibility at the end of the fall semester, the Tigers' once-promising post-season hopes are now in doubt. Currently 6-6 in the SEC with an RPI of 63, the Tigers still have work to do build a resume that will earn a place in the NCAA field of 64 teams.
Making matters worse, the Tigers have lost their last two games. After being upset at Ole Miss a week ago, they lost decisively at Georgia on Sunday.
Vanderbilt, on the other hand, defeated the Lady Razorbacks 63-50 in Fayetteville a week ago, and then enjoyed a week off.
"I gave the team a lot of time off, and it's mid-terms, so they've been studying a lot," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said before practice on Wednesday. "Also, it gave us extra time to prepare for Auburn that I think we needed"
In addition, she said that the team has had extra time for studying film and for individual workouts and that practices have been shorter than earlier in the season.
Balcomb's biggest concern going into the game at Auburn is her own team. "At this point in the season, it's about energy," she said. "Auburn is going to have a lot of energy at home, and we have to come out playing hard and getting back to playing with the energy level that we had before Tennessee."
Tonight's game will be televised on FSN South. Gametime is 8:00 p.m. to accommodate television and, as always, will be on the radio on WNSR, 560 AM.
Photos from Wednesday's practice:
Photos copyright 2008 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com.